Photo Credit: ESPN San Antonio
The death penalty is a punishment most people are not familiar with, probably because it has only been delivered to one Division I program in the history of NCAA football. Southern Methodist (SMU) was punished in 1986 for illegally recruiting. The athletic director at the time told the head football coach to purposely recruit illegally simply because he believed that that was what all good football programs were doing. The illegal recruiting consisted of giving handouts of thousands of dollars to players from the mid-1970’s through the 1986 season. SMU received a 3-year probation, 2-year bowl ban, and 1-season live TV ban for recruiting violations. Since SMU was given the death penalty, 30 programs have been eligible for the death penalty.
Another university eligible for the death penalty is Baylor. Baylor’s football program accounted for a total of 52 different rapes along with several other cases involving drugs and guns. TMZ linked former Baylor head coach Art Briles’ text messages revealed in a lawsuit involving ex-assistant athletic director Colin Shillinglaw, who sued the University for “wrongly” accusing him of being a part of the horrendous scandal, to the scandal itself. The assistant coach was reportedly texting Art Briles about all of the incidents that he had heard about.
Shillinglaw informed Briles about a situation involving a player at a massage. He texted Briles saying the player “supposedly exposed himself and asked for favors. She has a lawyer but wants us to handle with discipline and counseling.” Briles’ first response was “What kind of discipline…She a stripper?” When Shillinglaw told Briles that the player made a special request at a salon and spa getting a massage, Briles wrote, “Not quite as bad”, not caring whatsoever.
On April 11th, 2011, a freshman was cited for illegal consumption of alcohol. Coach Briles texted Shillinglaw saying “hopefully he’s under the radar enough they won’t recognize name – Did he get a ticket from Baylor police or Waco?.. Just trying to keep him away from our judicial affairs folks..”
Another incident involved a football player holding a gun to a female athlete’s head and threatening her life. Briles sent “What a fool – she reporting to authorities.” Shillinglaw texted back stating “She’s acting traumatized… Trying to talk her calm now.. Doesn’t seem want to report though.” Briles responded asking if the assistant coach was going to talk to the player about it and Shillinglaw concluded “Yes sit, just did. Caught him on the way to class… Squeezed him pretty good.”
These messages are just a few uncharacteristic responses from coaches out of several. As you can see from these text messages, not only is Baylor clearly guilty of this giant scandal, but it is extremely guilty of not treating it. Briles and Shillinglaw seemed to be more focused on keeping these crimes under the radar than punishing the players or the program. Firing a couple of coaches is not going to be enough to deal with all 52 rapes, plus drug and alcohol abuse. I expect the NCAA to give them a harsh punishment because I would give them the death penalty.